November 26, 2019

It's snowing to beat hell here (thanks for the euphemism, dad) and I'm on a week away from my day gig, chipping away at some BIG arranging projects.

The music on my desktop right now is about 700 measures and it often seems overwhelming. The original score material has...

September 23, 2018

I might have tried to transcribe something as awesome as the first movement of Mahler's 5th Symphony decades ago - I might have even thought it would have been successful.

The truth is, it takes years of experience learning from successes and, more importantly, failures...

July 28, 2018

Conductors who can't lift their head out of the score are a pet peeve. It usually means they don't trust their own understanding of the material in front of them, which leads to distrust from the orchestra and miscommunication. That self trust is difficult, but separat...

November 9, 2017

I wrote something yesterday that was confusing even to me when I read it again today. Mea culpa.

The offending sentence was: Wright notes that Sammy “Nestico avoids doubling the bass voice inside the harmony in the next octave above the normal bass range."

Context is imp...

August 26, 2017

Many years ago, I was walking past Bill Stanley’s trombone studio at CU Boulder and heard a most remarkable thing. I stuck my head in the partially open door and discovered he was listening to a piece from Offroad, a new solo CD by then associate principal trombone of...

August 25, 2017

Renaissance keyboard music is really fun to arrange. The simplicity of the music (well, at least some of it) lends itself to crafty solutions to make the music, dare I say it, more interesting than its original form.

I've orchestrated quite a few of these pieces now for...

August 16, 2017

Many years ago, my friend and colleague Bill Stanley (professor of trombone, University of Colorado at Boulder) pointed me towards an article that profoundly influenced my approach to playing, teaching, and even arranging. The Doctrine of Intent, written by Nashville S...

August 11, 2017

I wrote recently about starting with the bass line when beginning work on an arrangement. That is generally a true statement. However, there is another technique which can be useful when mapping out your arrangement.

Work from the obvious.

That is to say, once you have a...

August 8, 2017

For those that aren't familiar, Grainger frequently reworked his own compositions for instrumentations other than the original. Handel in the Strand was originally composed in 1912 as a piano trio (piano, violin & cello with optional viola). It was later reworked in 19...

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